I'm interested in Charlie Wise, the CIA interrogator and torturer. Several sources indicate that he died.

However, it seems quite plausible to me that these reports were part of an effort by the CIA to prevent Wise's prosecution and stymie further public inquiry into their torture programs. The timing certainly seems convenient. Frankly, it even seems to me that Julian Borger, one of the journalists who reported Wise's death, was skeptical.

Is there any corroborating evidence that Charlie Wise actually died? Ideal sources may include an obituary, local news, or any source with more specific details on his death.

Known sources reporting Wise's death:

Charlie Wise, who had honed his craft carrying out interrogations for the Contra rebels in Nicaragua in the 1980s. He apparently died of a heart attack in 2003, just weeks after being dismissed.

Julian Borger (2020-10-25). Chilling role of 'the Preacher' confirmed at CIA waterboarding hearing in Guantánamo. The Guardian.

The officer, identified by former colleagues as Charlie Wise, subsequently retired and died in 2003.

Greg Miller, Adam Goldman, & Julie Tate. (2014-12-09). Senate report on CIA program details brutality, dishonesty. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2014-12-10.

Wise died of a heart attack after retiring from the CIA.

Jason Leopold (2015-05-19). The Watchdog, the Whistleblower, and the Secret CIA Torture Report. Vice magazine

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    Just a note to answerers: Please be careful that anyone you identify as an alleged torturer is indeed the person being referred to and not someone else with the same name.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 9:45
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    ... What "corroborating evidence" is there that he didn't? "The CIA says he did, but the CIA would lie" isn't evidence. I mean, I get what you're asking and why you're asking it but I'm not sure scientific skepticism will be of much help here. Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 10:21
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    What would be acceptable evidence of him having died as claimed?
    – TimRias
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 11:50
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    He had not been identified at the time of his death so it is unlikely that even the local media would report anything other than a brief obit in the newspaper. If one finds a 2003 obit for a man with a matching name, it is not going to indicate he worked for the CIA or was involved in torture so it is essentially impossible to positively identify someone. That being said, via Google, I was able to find a 2003 obit for a man with a matching name in Virginia within commuting distance of CIA HQ in Langley, Virginia.
    – vsfDawg
    Commented Aug 24, 2022 at 15:23
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    Is there a notable claim he didn't die? Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 20:22

1 Answer 1


There is a grave for Charles Dean Wise (1950-2003) in Fairfax Memorial Park which marks the deceased as a veteran of Afghanistan, 2001-2. The link includes the content of an obituary submitted to the Washington Post which names his family.

The only other Google hit for this Charles Dean Wise is a 1980 PhD thesis on "Palestinian terrorism" for the University of Oklahoma, which twice references allegations of torture by Israel in a dismissive tone:

Torture of Arab prisoners has also been a repeated charge leveled at Israel by the Arabs.

These alleged practices include the destruction of homes, interference with religious freedoms, mass arrests, torture, and ill treatment of Arab detainees. Israel has argued during ECOSOC's deliberations on anti-Israeli resolutions that the resolutions represent, "yet another step in the apparently insatiable guest of the Arab states to collect anti-Israel resolutions in the United Nations."

I feel fairly confident that this is the person mentioned and that if the grave marker is a false one, it was an extremely elaborate conspiracy beyond what we can handle through Internet investigations.

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    Of course, blaming him as "CIA's Chief of Interrogations" may or may not have been just a convenient method of laying the blame on someone who was already dead, since the investigations [into the practice], AFAICT all happened after he was dead already. Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 10:50
  • TBH, I'm more skeptical of his role than of his death. Because e.g. others are only identified by initials "In the fall of 2002, B H I became the CIA's chief of interrogations in the CIA's Renditions. Group" in a Senate report. Initials don't correspond. Maybe "B H I" was his replacement?! Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 10:53
  • Weirdly, the "B H I" initials are blacked out in the declassified doc... but they forgot to remove the indexable/text part of the pdf or something. Apparently, I just busted a TOP SECRET piece of info, LOL. It's also possible they are smarter than I give them credit for, and they changed the initials too. Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 11:09
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    Yeah, the latter is the case, other blacked out regions have strings that contain "B H I" but are longer like "f l l H B H I H H ". Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 11:15

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